I can assure you that I am not an eminent theologian. The important question is, has the Holy Spirit found a willing vessel? When the disciples were interrogated by the theologians, the Scripture says in Acts 4:13, "Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus". When you read this, I believe that you will see that I am qualified for the same reasons to be used by the Lord, for His "power is made perfect in weakness".
I am learning that it is not I, living the Christian life and doing the works of Christ, but I accepting my death so that Christ may live and do His works through me. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that [life] which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, [the faith] which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20). Jesus gave up a natural body in order to take up a corporate body in order to continue on a much larger scale His deliverance of this fallen creation. (1 Cor.12:27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof. We are not the body of "another Jesus" or a weak and worthless Jesus. We are the body of the same Jesus who walked in that first body, exercising God's power to set the captives free. (Heb.13:8) Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and today, [yea] and forever. It is sad that most do not agree that Christ's plan is to continue exercising the sovereignty that He had in His first body in His second. (Amos 3:3) Shall two walk together, except they have agreed?
Once, as I was teaching a group of seminary students, one of them asked me why I had not attended their college. I said, "If I had attended your college I would have been limited to study from the best that your denomination has to offer. If I desired to study what men have to say about the Word, I can go to the Christian Bookstore and study the best that history has to offer". Another then asked, "How do you then discipline yourself to study? We have to study in order to give answers". I said, "Yes, but only the answers that they want to hear. For me it is a gift. It is my desire to study. I do not have to be under a law".
When I came to the Lord, having never been a studious person, those who knew me were shocked because all I wanted to do was study the Word. A little later I studied the writings of the reformers, early church fathers and a few modern teachers. Soon that fad passed and I stuck with the Word and the Holy Spirit, finding them immeasurably superior.
The Lord through Paul taught that the qualification for ministry was not only education but the experience of what is taught. (Rom.15:18,19) For I will not dare to speak of any things save those which Christ wrought through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Holy Spirit. From the beginning of my walk I became consumed with the desire to experience the life of discipleship to Christ, what it was to be a believer and act on the Words of God. The Lord told me, "I am sending you through a wilderness so that you can tell my people that I still supply their needs there". My experience became a wilderness of my own ability to save, heal, deliver, and provide for myself outside of faith in God. (1 Pet.4:11) ... if any man ministereth, [ministering] as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ... Early in my walk I embarked on the mission of learning to do things according to the Spirit and example of Scripture, learning to trust in the arm of the Lord rather than the arm of flesh. As one might imagine, this life-style put my family in many situations to prove the promises. The Lord wanted me to be able to speak from experience about His faithfulness to "supply every need of yours", whether that need be wisdom, righteousness, healing, deliverance, or provision. I would not have traded these trying experiences that led to God's miraculous answers for anything.
God still confirms His Word with signs and wonders through those who believe and act on the true Gospel. If we change the Word we will not see signs because God confirms His Word not ours. (Mk.16:20) And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.
When I was a very young disciple, I asked the Lord concerning what appeared to be opposing Scriptures on the rapture. Suddenly understanding flooded my mind in what I knew later was the word of wisdom and knowledge. Suddenly the Scriptures fit together. I had never received such an obviously supernatural revelation; and since it was not one that I had ever heard before, I asked the Lord to give me a sign. The sign that I asked of Him was that He would send someone to me who would tell me exactly what He had shown me. A few days later a brother named Bolivar was given a vision. In the vision he saw a sign on Route 61 that said, "Three miles to three L's". He found Route 61 on a map and followed it to the town where we lived, but he still did not understand the vision. Through a series of divine appointments he ended up at our house where he rejoiced to find that his vision had been fulfilled. Our name was Eells (pronounced by many as "L's") and there were three of us. He decided to check the odometer and found that it was exactly three miles from Route 61 to my driveway! A sovereign God can get you where He wants you. Notice that the confirmation was given through a literal sign. Needless to say Bolivar shared the same revelation that the Lord had given to me a week before. This revelation has been confirmed to me by the Word ever since. A close friend, Don, was there that day. He had received a vision some years before in which he saw a brown skinned man, dressed in a particular way, sitting before him telling him the truth about the rapture. When Don came in that day, he recognized Bolivar to be that man, even dressed the same as in his vision. Bolivar also prophesied that we would move to Florida, which we did almost a decade later.
For several years, Mary and I had been receiving visions and dreams about moving from Louisiana to Pensacola, Florida. One time, as we were talking about it, I went to the Lord and asked, "When are these visions and dreams going to come to pass?" I went to my Bible and opened it. As I looked down, my eyes fell immediately on Habakkuk 2:3 which states: For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hasteth toward the end, and shall not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not delay. That was God's sign to us. It was specific and to the point. At that time Mary and I were impatient and wondering when we were going to move. We watched almost no TV, but I walked over and turned it on and there was Charles Stanley speaking the words, "They that wait upon the Lord". We knew that those words were a sign for us to be patient. Then I walked over to this little breadbox with the Scripture cards in it. I picked out a card and without looking at it showed it to Mary. It said, "They that wait upon the Lord". That was three signs in a row. The Lord wanted us to rest and wait, for He was going to bring it to pass in His time. If we believe in God's sovereignty to speak through signs and confirmations, He can give such peace in the midst of trials.
Mary had a dream while she was pregnant. In the dream she saw a big boy and a little girl. As she was waking up a voice said, "Justin Joseph and Jennifer Joy". We both thought surely we are going to have twins. In the course of time, Mary gave birth in our home to a 7lb.15oz. normal-size boy, but no girl. This surprised us because we were use to having our dreams come true. Mary's thinking was that the dream would be fulfilled later with twins. I said to her, "No, Mary, this is Justin Joseph. He was bigger in your dream because he was to be born first, and Jennifer Joy was smaller because she will be born later". She was not at all convinced and we needed to know what to name this boy. I pulled three quarters out of my pocket. I told her, "Let's ask God to give us a sign. I am going to flip these and they are all going to come down heads, because this is Justin". After we prayed, I flipped the quarters; and they all came down heads. She still was not convinced. I said, "I am going to do it again, and they are all going to come down heads". I did, and they all came down heads again. She said, "Well, I don't know, David". I said, "OK, I am going to do this one more time, and then we are not going to tempt the Lord any more". You guessed it! They all came down heads. What are the "chances" of nine heads in a row? Mary was convinced. (Pr.18:18) The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty. Two years and three months later, our little girl Jennifer Joy was born. Justin Joseph means "just increaser", and Jennifer Joy means "pure joy". Their names, given by the Lord, fit their attributes.
The birth of Jennifer was a sign of God's timing to us that we were about to move to Pensacola. About five years before her birth, Mary had had a dream that we were walking through a house in Pensacola; and I had a baby girl on my hip. (This was perfectly fulfilled at the time we moved.) Also, in the dream, she knew that the Interstate was completed from Louissianna to Pensacola. This stretch of interstate had been notoriously under construction for many years but was completed by the time we moved. The value of these signs to know that you are in the perfect will of God cannot be measured. Without respect for Scriptural signs Christians many times go their own way to their detriment. The Word does not tell us when or where to move, who to marry, or where to work; but it does demonstrate the signs that God uses to give such individual direction.
When Jennifer was about sixteen months old, we knew we were about to move to Pensacola because she was now the size she was in the dream. At this time, I had some brethren to agree with me that God would give us a house and give us a car in Pensacola. We agreed according to the Word. (Mt.18:19) Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven. A week after this prayer of faith, my wife Mary and daughter Deborah were in a car wreck, driving down Florida Boulevard. I emphasize Florida Boulevard because this was a sign that this wreck played an important part in putting us on the boulevard to Florida. They had come to a stop behind a Cadillac. A man in a Lincoln was looking at the sights and rear-ended our Toyota, driving it into the Cadillac, totaling our car and slightly injuring them. While they were using the "jaws of life" to open the car, a man came and told Mary, "Don't worry he has good insurance", which she thought was strange. The man who drove the Lincoln was very remorseful. He told us he was the president of a large warehouse corporation and that his company was self-insured. He had 100/300/100 insurance on his car. He told us that he would speak to his insurance representatives on our behalf. What are the "chances" of being hit by someone like that? The insurance people were very generous with us, as you might expect. God chose this method to answer my prayer that God would give us a house and car. They replaced the wrecked car with a better one. With the settlement money, we were able to replace our larger family car with a new one and purchase our house, and all with non-taxable money. This settlement ties in with another story.
Rick was a young friend of ours. About five years before the wreck, Rick had a dream. He had been gone from our neighborhood for a while and had come for a visit to our neighbor Bruce's home. In the dream, Bruce told him to look towards our home. When he did, he saw a moving van backed up to our place. We were moving to Pensacola. When he came over to help us load up the van, I showed him some papers that had the word "pension" written on them. I told him, "I am never going to work for man again".
The Spirit convinced me of Rick's dream when I heard it. I told people where I worked that I was about to retire and move to Pensacola. Of course, they all told me that at thirty-seven there is no way they would offer me retirement. They were all proved wrong. They decided they wanted to replace some of their employees that had expensive benefits with contract labor. They offered retirement to anyone who had worked over fifteen years. When this was offered, I did not have to think about it because I had my signs. Several people came to me and recounted that I had told them that this was going to happen. It was a witness to them that God can tell us of the future.
We had not seen Rick for a few years, but the weekend that we were moving, he showed up at Bruce's house. Bruce pointed him toward our home. What he saw was what he had seen in the dream; we had a moving van backed up to our place. As Rick excitedly helped us to load the van, I shared with him about my pension. I had received a one-year severance pay with a small retirement when I reach retirement. The year's pay came in at the same time as the first of two installments of insurance money from the wreck. This was enough for our house in Pensacola and enough to live on for a year. The second installment was settled and came after we gave our car to a mission in Pensacola. Then we were able to buy a new car. The sign of the dream was perfectly fulfilled.
You might think, "How could he never work for man again with that kind of pension?" A few months before leaving the Lord gave me another sign. In a vision, I suddenly appeared before an immense palace that I believe represented the New Jerusalem. A large door opened and the Lord was standing there dressed as a King. He ushered me inside and showed me a tower that was built of logs like a log cabin but narrowing toward the top, where there was a place to stand. He revealed to me that this represented my ministry. He also showed me a payment book with a certain amount per month in it. He said, "I want you to have this", meaning the tower and the payment. We have lived on an average of that amount per month, coming miraculously from many directions, since 1986. Although we had lean months and fat months to try us, over the year it averaged what the Lord said per month. We have had to walk by faith to receive it. This sign gave me faith that God would supply my needs without some visible means of support.
After this, in another vision, I was caught up high above where I lived. As I looked toward Florida, I saw that tower in Pensacola. A few months later, God had miraculously bought us a free house and car in Pensacola, Florida. The Lord gave me some insight to the meaning of the tower. The individual logs are the saints who are likened to trees in many Scriptures. At the corners where they united, crosses were formed. God's people coming together in unity bearing their own cross would create a tower of safety from their enemies. The Israelites built towers like this in their cities and sometimes among their flocks to protect them from invading enemies (Judges 9:46,51). (Pr.18:10) The name (Hebrew: "character and authority") of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. Truth builds of us a tower of the character, and authority of Jesus to defend us from enemies. Very hard times and many enemies are coming. Get behind the high walls of spiritual Zion, the "tower of the flock" (Mic.4:8).
Many times in my experience, the Lord has used the lot as a sign to prove God's sovereignty and direction to others. I was asking the Lord what to do with our mobile home when we knew we were about to move to Pensacola. Mary was asking me if we should sell it. As I prayed about it, the Lord impressed me to give it to a Christian couple named Mike and Karen that we knew in Houston, Texas. So I contacted them only to find out that they had just lost their job and their company house. When I told Mary what the Lord told me, she was not sure. I wanted the Lord to confirm to Mary that giving away our home was indeed God's direction. So to give her peace of mind, I suggested that we ask of the Lord a sign. I asked God to confirm this decision with six heads in a row, and that is exactly what we got. What is the "chance" of six heads in a row coming up? It convinced Mary. Without telling them what the Lord had said, I invited them to move in with us temporarily. Mary reminded me that Karen had a dream some years before that we had left our area and returned some time later to find someone else was living in our home. We did not think to ask her at the time if she knew who it was. When they moved in, I reminded them of the dream. Then I said to Karen, "I think I know who it was that was living in our home. It was you, wasn't it?" Karen said, "Yes, it was". (She wisely did not tell us when she first told us the dream because she did not want it to be a self-fulfilled prophecy.) I said, "Well then it's your home". Of course, they were exited to see how God had provided for them even before their need. A couple of months later, God provided us a house and car in Pensacola.
More of our miraculous story is told in our book Sovereign God For Us and Through Us.
Your servant in Christ,